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Argentina economy not in default - Economy Minister

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Argentina’s Economy Minister Axel Kicillof says his country is not in default amid an ongoing debt row with US hedge funds.

Ratings agency Fitch declared Argentina in “restrictive default” on Thursday after Buenos Aires failed to clinch a deal with representatives from the funds.

Kicillof, however, said his country has not defaulted and that the Argentinean government is open to agreements between private parties.

“Those that want to talk about default do it without knowing about the issues. They should come with the contract and explain how it can be that we are in a default. This doesn’t have a name, but if it did it wouldn’t be default,” he told a news conference on Thursday.

Argentina has so far refused to pay USD 1.3 billion to the debt investors as required under a recent US court ruling.

US District Court Judge Thomas Griesa had ordered Argentina to pay its debt “all together, without quotas, right away, now, in cash, ahead of all the rest” of bondholders.

Based on the verdict, Argentina has to make payments to both holdout bond investors and the holders of its restructured debt at the same time, which the South American country says cannot afford despite willingness to pay its debt.

Argentina is locked in a 12-year legal fight with creditors, who refused to participate in two restructurings that followed Argentina’s 2002 default on USD 100 billion in bonds. It has since twice restructured its debt in 2005 and in 2010.

“The government can’t pay more than the bondholders from 2010 and I’m tired of explaining that we can’t pay more because if we do they [bondholders] are going to say that we are paying them more and a whole bunch of cases are going surface with the same claim,” Kicillof said.


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